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Combining work and personal phones can seem convenient when starting a business. Privacy is often the last thing on your mind when looking for customers or clients. But soon you’ll begin to notice that when you combine your business phone and a personal phone, your number can end up all over the internet.
Most people, especially small business owners, underestimate how exposed their phone numbers are on the internet. It can have grave implications for your privacy. That’s why experts warn against combining work and personal phones.
You don’t intentionally do it. You may not be even aware when you do it. Here’s how your phone number travels wide in the online world:
Apps: You may have given your phone number and access to your contact list while downloading apps or linked it to add another tier of security. These apps distribute your number unless otherwise stipulated.
Online shopping: Almost all e-commerce platforms require you to submit your phone number when you sign up or purchase something.
Social media: Some social media platforms require you to share the number when signing up.
Customers: You may have given it to customers in the initial stages, who may have shared it with others.
Email signature: Some business owners add their phone numbers to their email, which extends their reach.
Stationery: A customer would have shared your phone number from your stationery or storefront with others online.
Reviews: While responding to a review, usually a negative one, you may have given your number on a public forum like Google Reviews or Facebook.
Directories: Online directories of business associations or entrepreneurs may also have your number, which is usually accessible only to the members.
Using your personal phone for work is a demonstrably bad idea. Combining both work and personal phones means your phone number could end up in the hands of anyone. From spammers to hackers, anyone can use it to find other details about you, steal your identity and even spoof call others pretending to be you.
Considering the risks it poses to your security, it’s important to take these steps to remove your personal phone number from the internet.
First, find out the extent of the damage. Search for your name on search engines in the incognito (private) mode and see if your phone number is listed anywhere. Next, add your phone number with your area code and hit search.
This should show where your phone number is listed. In some cases, like in directories, it could be behind a paywall.
Most search engines have tools that you can use to remove your personal phone number. Google, for example, has its PhoneBook Name Removal to help remove your data from all searches on Google. You can also stop your personal information from being indexed on the search engine again.
If you find your personal phone number listed on a website, you’ll have to contact the website admin with a request.
Different social media platforms have different ways to remove your number from your account.
Facebook: Follow the instructions to remove your phone number from Facebook.
Twitter: These steps will show you how to delink your number from Twitter.
Instagram: Go to your account, then Profile, and Personal Information Settings. Here you can delete your number from the app.
Unless you have a dedicated second line for work, one of the easiest steps you can take is to remove it from your email signature and website.
Most apps ask for permission to access not just your number but also that of your contacts. You’ll have to open each app and then revoke its permission to get your number. In case the app insists on it, it’s better to delete it altogether.
The simple answer is to use a separate number for work. When you get a virtual number like Chalkboard, you can share your new number with customers, vendors, and directories and display it on all brand identity assets like signages or websites.
Here’s why you should stop combining work and personal phone and download Chalkboard today:
Combining both work and personal phones is ineffective and potentially dangerous. The smarter solution is to download Chalkboard today and start your 14-day free trial.
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